Life is getting worse for the world's poorest, says CAFOD report

30 July 2013

Luzira village with boys

A new CAFOD report has found the wellbeing of poor people has deteriorated over the past 15 years.

CAFOD’s researchers in Uganda, Bolivia, the Philippines and Zimbabwe spoke to 1,420 people in 56 communities living with poverty as part of a new report. During these conversations we found that poverty is increasing for many people because of global and national influences beyond their control.

We hope to bring these conversations to the international debate on how to make the successor to the Millennium Development Goals better at reducing poverty.

Setting the post-2015 development compass: voices from the ground found the organised activities of other people leading to impacts such as environmental degradation, rapid changes in crop prices and economic crises are reducing poor and marginalised people’s ability to make a living in developing countries, pushing them further into poverty.

CAFOD investigated poor people’s views of change, their needs, the challenges they face, and their visions of the future for themselves and their families.

The report found that despite the presence of development projects in many areas visited, people are getting poorer due to a web of pressures linked to globalisation that means communities are facing more and more challenges to making a decent living. The majority of these pressures are beyond the control of the people they are affecting in poor and marginalised areas. They include environmental degradation, violent conflict, forced displacement, rapid changes in the prices paid to farmers, resource depletion, natural disasters, and political and economic crises.

CAFOD’s lead post-MDGs policy analyst Neva Frecheville said: "Some of the issues focused on in the MDGs have seen real improvements, from reducing the number of people living on very low incomes to increasing people’s access to medicines for HIV.

"But what this research reveals above all is that poverty is hugely complex and controlled by myriad forces. The interconnectedness of the world through globalisation means the poorest and most marginalised face negative pressures from all quarters making it harder and harder to sustain a livelihood.

"Policy-makers have a responsibility to include the voices of those whose lives are most difficult and to make their interests a priority in the post-2015 process.”

The MDGs have shaped development policy and political agendas for more than a decade. In 2015 global leaders will take decisions affecting the lives of millions of people as they agree the framework to replace the MDGs. CAFOD believes it is vital for the voices of those who understand what living in poverty really means to be part of these decisions.

CAFOD works with poor communities around the world to help them lift themselves out of poverty. Please support our vital work

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